THE NEIGHBOURING Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) is considering a soft loan of about Bt4 billion to Myanmar to finance the construction of a 138-kilometre two-lane road from Dawei in Myanmar to Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi province. Construction is expected to commence next year. The road would boost trade and investment between Myanmar and Thailand and between Asean nations and Japan, said NEDA director Newin Sinsiri.
Myanmar’s government is negotiating the lending terms and conditions, which are likely to be accommodating as Thailand wants to promote trade and investment via this road link. Myanmar’s parliament would have to approve the terms and conditions of the loan, while the Thai Cabinet would have to approve the loan, which would come from the national budget for fiscal year 2016.
Since Dawei will become the site for industrial estates and a deep-sea port, it is necessary to have this road link in place, Newin said.
The loan period is likely to cover 30 years with a three-year drawdown. The exact interest rate is still under consideration, but is likely to be close to the 2.50 per cent per annum of soft loans NEDA has previously offered seven neighbouring countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and East Timor) over the past 10 years for 60 projects relating to basic infrastructure, technical and personnel training. The credit totalled Bt14.48 billion.
Apart from the Dawei-Kanchanaburi road project, three other projects NEDA is considering for financing assistance are a 115-kilovolt power-transmission line (Nam Thong-Houay Xai) and power plant in Laos at Bt1.14 billion; upgrading of Yangon’s electricity system at Bt1.78 billion; and construction of a watergate at Tan Thuan in Ho Chi Minh City at Bt1.18 billion.
Other technical assistance and cooperation in the form of grants pertain to four projects totalling Bt244 million. These are feasibility studies on a road from Jedi Samong, Kanchanaburi, to the Myanmar border; on permanent border checkpoints and road links with Cambodia’s Route 5; a road-upgrade project for Route 11 in Laos; and a hospital-renovation project in Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam.
NEDA’s knowledge-transfer sessions and field trips for personnel from neighbouring countries comprised four projects totalling Bt14 million, which covered borrowing by schools, banks and small businesses and manufacturers; internationally accepted accounting and financial standards; financial systems; and waterworks.
Source: The Nation